Tamarin (Emperor)

Saguinus imperator

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

For more info on classifications, visit www.iucnredlist.org

Least Concern


Where they live

South America


rainforest of western Amazonia


body length 23-25cm, tail length 39-42cm




15-20 years


Habitat destruction

Did you know...

  • Called Emperor tamarins because the moustache resembles that of German Emperor Wilhelm
  • Tamarins have nails only on their big toes. Nails on all other digits have evolved to become claws

More about Emperor tamarins...

Emperor tamarins are easily recognised by their long, white moustaches.They are found in the forests of western Amazonia where they live in small family groups consisting of an adult pair, their sub adult young and their babies. Each group inhabits a fairly large home range and is extremely territorial. Adults of both sexes use scents from glands on their chests and genitalia to scent mark the territorial boundaries. They are also very vocal animals using shrill chirruping calls to maintain contact in the dense forest.

Tamarins sleep together as a group at night and move through the trees in the daytime feeding on fruit, flowers, nectar, invertebrates and small vertebrates such as rodents, birds and lizards. Eggs are sometimes taken.

In the zoo Emperor tamarins will breed at any time of the year, but in the wild they are seasonal breeders. They normally give birth between September and March, usually to twins after a gestation period of 140-145 days. All group members care for the young and this involves carrying, grooming, food sharing and play.

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